Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the Goodall-Witcher Hospital Wellness Wednesday lunch program about “Rethink Your Drink.” I always enjoy getting to visit with the folks who attend Wellness Wednesday, and it doesn’t hurt that Goodall-Witcher provides a free, healthy lunch for all attendees! I also enjoy talking about healthy eating and drinking. You might be surprised to learn how much sugar is in your favorite beverage!
Did you know that a typical adult is eating and drinking about 320 calories or more each day in the form of added sugar? Three major culprits for those extra sugar calories are soda, energy drinks, or sports drinks; desserts; and fruit drinks. Sugar can be found naturally in some foods such as fruit and milk, but most of the sugar in the American diet is added during food processing, preparation, or at the table. If we can limit added sugars in the diet, we can reduce calories and improve diet quality.
Did you know that one can of Dr. Pepper has 10 teaspoons of sugar? That’s right! One can of Dr. Pepper has 40 grams of sugar, and there are four grams per teaspoon. Soda is not the only source of extra sugar. Many of the sports drinks that teenagers like to have are loaded with sugar, and our favorite Starbucks drinks are just as bad. The problem with so much sugar in our drinks is that these are empty calories, meaning they do not provided any nutritional benefits. The healthier option is to drink water or unsweetened beverages and eat foods that are nutrient-dense to get the vitamins and nutrients our body needs.
Next time you reach for your favorite soft drink or a big glass of sweet tea, think about what is in your drink! For more information about healthy eating, contact Kate Whitney at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331.